Hendrix on the electric violin? Yup, that's the comparison trailing Swedish-born Theresa Andersson on her ascent up the popular music ladder -- and that's just one of her talents. Theresa also possesses a charm in her sweet voice that would've surely lulled those notorious Greek ships over the jagged rocks, would that she had bad intentions. If there's a modern-day siren, Andersson fits the profile.
If you desire to test your willpower, then try to stay out of 32 Bleu on Saturday night; there'll be many a vessel marooned at the club entrance.
Andersson has been likened to Sonic Youth during her wild "distortion jams" (she tends to play with a wah wah pedal) and Liz Phair for some of her "funk-rock" melodies. There's no question of her range or versatility as a musician. Many of her songs elicit memories of other pop sounds, yet she retains, with her own unique voice, an original blend of pop, country, jazz and soul.
Andersson got her start at the age of 12 and began touring in the prestigious World Youth Choir, eventually working her way into the heart of Swedish artist Anders Osborne. The two set off from their native country and settled in New Orleans for nearly a decade, before more twists and turns led Andersson out on her own in 1998 to pursue solo work. She tempered her steel in Nashville and Austin with all the other hopefuls, emerging alive and well and missing the bayou. She's since put out five albums and garnered a handful of awards, including Offbeat magazine's Best of the Best award for violin six years running and the 2003 Big Easy Award for Best Female Artist.
Shine is Andersson's latest release and the focal point of her current tour.
The album features such songs as "Connected," which honors the audience/performer relationship that occurs when each gets lost in the magic of a moment during a show. Two tracks from Shine have already been picked up by Hollywood: the funky "Good Girl" will air in a Lifetime Network movie, and the critically hailed "Lorraine's Song" lends some style to an upcoming John Travolta flick shot in New Orleans. Shine has been labeled as "somewhat schizophrenic" for its diversity in content and song, though no words of discontent accompany the eclectic categorization.
Andersson's live performances are rumored to be more than memorable; she challenges her listeners to break the surface and engage with her music. Her song "I'm on My Way" sums up the dare: "If you really want to see me you must close your eyes because I'm more than I appear to be."
Chris Duarte, from Theresa's old haunt of Austin, Texas, will join Andersson at 32 Bleu. Though purists may scream heathenism, many are comparing Duarte to the late Stevie Ray Vaughan. Duarte's style finds influence in jazz, blues and rock 'n' roll and usually falls under the category of Texas blues-rock. He's up and coming in the world of modern blues circles and generally shies from the comparison to Vaughan, maintaining humility and sticking to what he learned in San Antonio, when he started playing clubs at the age of 15. Arrive on time to catch Andersson's scintillating sound and you'll essentially be treated to two headliner acts. What more could you squeeze out of 10 bucks?
-- Matthew Schniper
Theresa Andersson and the Chris Duarte Group
32 Bleu, 32 S. Tejon St.
Saturday, July 24, 9 p.m.
All ages, $10
Call 955-5664 or go online at www.32bleu.com
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